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UVic athletes band together for third annual relay to honour late soccer captain

Vikes Kick Cancer with weekend relay
Cheered on by members of the Vikes soccer team, Trinity Kettyls and the late Mackenzie Rigg start their 5.4 km loop in Gordon Head in 2020. (File photo courtesy Armando Tura)

University of Victoria athletes from a variety of sports are coming together to honour a peer in a fundraiser and brain cancer awareness campaign.

The third annual Vikes Kick Cancer event honours the memory of 2018-19 UVic men’s soccer captain Mackenzie Rigg, who was diagnosed with brain cancer (glioblastoma) in August 2020.

He died March 11.

On Oct. 16, Vikes and former Vikes will run routes tallying a total of 270 kilometres – a number selected to reflect the average of 27 Canadians diagnosed daily with brain tumours, explained Trinity Kettyls, a founder of the event.

RELATED: UVic mourns loss of popular alumnus

Kettyls’ passion for Vikes Kick Cancer stems from the determination of her late boyfriend, Rigg, to fund more research in hopes of finding a cure.

“I think it’s important because we need more awareness and funding to make a difference with this disease,” Kettyls said. Her goals reflect his – new treatment options and improving the quality of life for those affected.

“Glioblastoma has no treatment options, there needs more awareness … so other young individuals like Mackenzie aren’t ripped away from their family and friends.”

RELATED: Vikes rally support for alum battling brain cancer

In 2020, Rigg ran the first 270 km Vikes Kick Cancer relay that raised over $67,000 for the Brain Tumour Foundation of Canada. The events and tribute donations in his name since then have raised $136,015,79.

The goal for this year’s event is $10,000.

“People ask if they can come out and cheer but it’s almost better if people get involved and do their own run and invite others to join them. It gets the word out more,” Kettyls said.

Instead, they invite those who want to join the cause to take a photo or video doing a 5 km walk, run or bike and challenge friends on social media.

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Christine van Reeuwyk

About the Author: Christine van Reeuwyk

I'm dedicated to serving the community of Oak Bay as a senior journalist with the Greater Victoria news team.
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